How to improve your credit score and your chance of approval

Increase your chance of approval in 6 easy steps.

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A low credit score (below 550) means you're less likely to be approved for a credit card or loan. But don't panic! You can improve your score and your chances of approval by following these steps.

1. Always pay bills on time

Bills that are more than 60 days overdue will appear on your credit report as defaults. Those stay on your report for five years, which will make it harder for you to get credit. If you're having issues paying a bill, talk to your provider early and negotiate a payment plan.

2. Cancel unused credit cards

Credit cards that aren't being used won't improve your chances of getting another card or loan, since they represent potential debt you could incur. So if you're not using the card, cancel it. Not sure how to cancel? Check Finder's detailed guide.

3. Pay down credit card debts

Many credit cards charge high interest rates. Clearing existing debt will improve your finances and your options for future credit. Devote as much money as you can each month to paying off any credit card debt. A 0% balance transfer can help you pay off your credit card faster.

Building a pile of children's bricks

4. Lower your credit card limit

If you regularly pay off your credit card balance but don't use most of your available credit, contact your financial institution and ask to have your limit lowered. Again, that reduces your potential debt level and improves your chances of success.

5. Check your credit report for errors

It doesn't happen often, but defaults can end up mistakenly reported on your file. So check the details on your credit report and make sure they're accurate. If not, contact the issuing service and seek a correction. In complex cases, a credit repair agency may be worth using.

6. Don't apply again until your score improves

Multiple applications for credit cards or loans can drive your score down. Be patient and keep track of your score, and hold off applying until your chance of approval goes up.


How can I track my credit score?

Use the Finder app to track your credit score easily and for free. The app also highlights ways to cut your current expenses, find better loans and credit cards and earn more interest. It's available for both iPhone and Android.

Still have questions? Learn more about how your credit score is calculated and what your credit file includes.

More guides on Finder

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